UK Premiere: Le Samouraï
Image Credit: Le Samouraï © c/o Janus Films
BSL translation

UK Premiere: Le Samouraï

classified 12A S

Restored & Rediscovered

Film

Wed 24 - Sun 28 July

Cinema 1, Watershed and Cinema 3, Watershed

Director
Jean-Pierre Melville
Cast
Alain Delon, François Périer, Nathalie Delon, Cathy Rosier, Jacques Leroy
Details
105 mins, Subtitled, 1967, France
Primary language
French

The icy hitman trope was arguably created, perfected and finalised entirely within Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï, which stars Alain Delon as Jef Costello, a lone contract killer beholden only to his paymasters and to an obscure code of honour.

Of course, things start to go awry. A botched killing allows the cops to close in on Costello, who suspects one of his employers has put out a hit on him. Increasingly, he is left with nowhere to run.

Delon, with cheekbones capable of cutting cucumbers and breaking hearts, was already a huge star by the time Melville cast him in what would become the French director’s most iconic film. But it was Le Samouraï, more than any other film, which solidified his persona as an icy-cool, impossibly beautiful mask of an actor.

Delon's performance led to a succession of strong, silent types for him, which inspired a rich lineage of fellow hitmen: those of John Woo’s Hard Boiled, Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog, David Fincher’s The Killer, and perhaps most visibly the John Wick franchise.

Restored in 4K by Pathé and the Criterion Collection at L’Immagine Ritrovata from the 35 mm original camera negative.

Presented in partnership with Film Noir UK.

Image title

The Wed 24 July screening will have an introduction by film historian, programmer and video essayist Jonathan Bygraves. The introduction will feature BSL interpretation.

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